The Secret to Job Interview Success

WorkCoachCafeWe all enjoy watching a great entertainer sing or dance or play an instrument in a band or orchestra, act in a movie or play, even make us laugh or perform magic tricks.  And the amazing skill of the star quarterback who sends the “Hail Mary” pass to the talented receiver who reaches up to snag that ball for a touchdown, or the tennis player who slams that serve over the net for an ace, winning the game!  Wow! 

How do these performers and athletes do these amazing things?  Certainly “talent” and “luck” have a role in those successes, but what really separates success from failure is preparation.

So many job seekers “wing it” when it comes to an interview.  And that’s a big mistake.

In your job search, you need to focus like an NFL player or the singer winning the talent contest.  “Winging it” just doesn’t work in this very competitive job market.  Here are the 2 critical aspects of effective job interview preparation.

The first critical aspect of job interview preparation is to carefully research the position and the employer.

The second critical aspect is to practice for that job interview. 

Research and practice make the difference between your best job interview performance and a blown opportunity.

5 Keys to Successful Job Interview Practice

At first glance, practicing for a job interview may sound like an impossible thing to do.  But it’s not impossible at all.

1.  Know the “standard” interview questions.

Several questions are asked by most interviewers.  We listed the top 10 job interview questions, with help for preparing and answering those questions successfully.  Don’t blow one of these questions.  You must be prepared for these questions.

2.  Write out your answers to those questions.  Thoughtfully.

Yes, writing out your answers will take time and effort, but it will be time and effort well spent.  Don’t skip this step!

Read the guidance on how to answer those questions.  Think about your accomplishments and skills that would be a benefit to the employer if they hire you.  For most of your answers you need to focus on what will be a benefit to the employer or what will interest the employer.

3.  Don’t be afraid to “brag.” 

This is not the time to be modest.  Know and be ready to discuss your achievements, your awards, and the accomplishments you are proudest of.  Be sure to include these in the stories you write in # 2, to answer the top 10 questions.  Describe those achievements, particularly the ones that demonstrate your ability to do the requirements of the new job.

4.  Practice your answers.

Read your answers and accomplishments out loud a few times.  Tell them to friends and family.  Don’t try to memorize them, but do become accustomed to talking about yourself and your accomplishments.  If you can, have a friend or family member pretend to interview you, to ask you the most common job interview questions, so you can practice your responses “live.”  If that doesn’t work, answer those questions, perhaps talking to your mirror in the bathroom.

5.  Remember to focus on benefits to the employer.

Job seekers can become too wrapped up in I-want’s.  Frankly, most employers really don’t care what you want.  They do care about  your fit for their job opening and organization. Can you do the job well and be pleasant to work with?  Will you be a “good hire” someone who will be able to do the job required or will you become a problem employee?

Stand Out by Being Better Prepared and More Confident

Too many job seekers walk into a job interview unprepared and unpracticed, and then wonder why they don’t land the job or  do well in the interview.  You will stand out in a job interview with your preparation, most likely becoming more confident and less nervous. 

Think about that one for a minute.  Why not practice for your job interview?  The “audience” may be very small, only one or a few people at a time, but those people are very important to your ability to achieve your goal, landing a great new job.

More About Job Interview Success

Top 10 Job Interview Questions

3 Assumptions You Should Never Make About Job Interviews

Job Interviews: 10 Steps to Successful Job Interviewing

How to Knock Their Socks Off in a Job Interview

Job Interviews: Avoid Costly Talking-too-Much Mistakes

Job Interviews: Are You Listening?

© Copyright, 2013, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.


About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been  observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then.  Susan also edits and publishes  Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .


  1. Natalie says:

    I have applied for billion jobs since my graduation and only had a handful of phone interviews which didn’t lead to anything. I am confident on the phone and answer all the questions right away. Some positions perfectly describe my resume but still I never get invited for a post phone interview. It makes me feel like It is impossible to impress employers with my experience, skills.

  2. Andrew K says:

    First of all employers do not know what they want, even if it came from heaven bit them in the face and danced on their desks. The delusion of the day you have to look like. I have been to several interviews and have skills that once in a lifetime that suites their business and they don’t want it. “He is after my job!!” Dummy ever heard of legislation? Ever heard of merit? If you leave or get fired or quit and the company feels I am the better match for the position fine!! I am not applying for your job you are interviewing me for the position at hand not vise versa.

Speak Your Mind